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Special Educators Strained By Budget Cuts - Disability Scoop

Special Educators Strained By Budget Cuts - Disability Scoop | Special education | Scoop.it
Budget cuts are forcing larger class sizes, bigger case loads and leaving schools with too few staff to meet the needs of students with disabilities, special educators say.
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“Special Educators Strained by Budget Cuts” is an article by Michelle Diament that explains the detrimental affects budget cuts have on special education. “Budget cuts are forcing larger class sizes, bigger case loads and leaving schools with too few staff to meet the needs of students with disabilities.” Over 1,000 special education teachers, administrators and other professionals answered a survey saying that budget cuts have impacted the delivery of services for kids with disabilities and have left two few personnel to aid the students. In addition to cutbacks, federal education spending fell in 2013 by 6 million dollars. As a result, teachers don’t have access to aide for adequate technology and are still expected to meet the specific goals and keep the students on grade level. “To be successful in school, students with disabilities rely on a cadre of professionals who have expertise to address their complex academic, behavioral and social-emotional needs…any further cuts would have a devastating impact on student who rely on special education services.”  Having adequate equipment and resources in classrooms is extremely important for the progress of any student. Budget cuts especially affect special needs students because larger classrooms don’t allow for the students to get the amount of attention and help that they need. Not having specific technologies and aid can really affect the students improvement. 

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A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

This is a profile of the SCB, or school community based special education program at James Hubert Blake high school in Montgomery County, Maryland. A team of...
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Before coming to college I struggled with the decision to study elementary education or special education. I had worked with special education students in high school and I loved interacting with them, eating lunch with them, and becoming a friend they felt comfortable around. However, experiencing the outbursts and the difficulty teachers faced with their special education students scared me. I wasn’t sure if I could handle it every single day, it wouldn’t be fair to my students if I weren’t 100% passionate about pursuing it. However, after reading through articles for my scoop it and watching this “A day in the life of a Special Education teacher” on Youtube, I find myself regaining that love again. This first year teacher is so inspiring and makes such a difference in these kid’s lives. I want to be a teacher so I can truly make an impact on my student’s lives and I think helping special needs kids is hard but so incredibly rewarding. In this video Emily Luedtke, the first year special education teacher has an incredibly happy and calm demeanor and is so passionate about working with special needs students. I hope that I can make that much of an impact the first year I teach. 

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Say Yes To Inclusion

Congratulations and thanks to everybody! We have cracked the 15.000!!! Actually we already have 15.318 YES's from 62 countries! Thank you all for making this...

Via Rebecca Hanley
Bianca Lea Iacono's insight:

“Say Yes To Inclusion” is a worldwide campaign that calls for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the fight against poverty. The video starts out with a shocking statistic, “Over a billion people live with some form of disability. That’s every 7th person on this planet. In some countries its even every fifth.” People with disabilities face many problems and barriers in their access to employment, health and education. In turn, this leads to their exclusion from society and unfortunately can keep them in poverty. The video suggests that we help with ensuring participation of persons with disabilities in all planning processes and development programs. In addition, we should make development co-operation inclusive of persons with disabilities. Say “Yes” has been an extremely successful movement and campaign. People send photos and videos of themselves while making the “yes” sign in their local sign language. Since the campaign started, they have received 15,000 photos and videos of people all around the world. I found this video to be very inspirational. I am completely in favor of inclusion and think it should be implemented in schools all throughout the world. I think its imperative that people with disabilities feel included in everyday classroom activities and are able to socialize with kids that don’t have disabilities. After watching this video, I was surprised at how successful the movement has become and excited that people in 62 different countries are all in support of this campaign. I hope that when I am a teacher, my school is in support of inclusion and I have the incredible opportunity to teach all different kids of students. 

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Rebecca Hanley's curator insight, December 20, 2013 8:39 PM

 

This video explains the global campaign started last February titled, “Say Yes to Inclusion”. The video begins by explain how every 7th person in the world has a disability and everyday these people face barriers in accessing education, health, and employment. This then in turn excludes them from our society and leads them to poverty. In order to end this we need to grant them accessibility and say yes to inclusion. In order to promote inclusion, people from around the globe send in a photo or video saying yes in their local sign language to show their support for inclusion.  Since last February, the campaign has already received 15,000 photos and videos from 62 countries.

 

When I first clicked on this video, I thought it would be about inclusion in the classroom because that’s what most people think when they think of inclusion and special education. When they began to talk about accessibility I thought they would discuss handicap buttons on doors and brail in elevators. However, this video really opened my eyes and made me realize inclusion and accessibility are a lot larger then just those small things. When people with disabilities end up in poverty it only furthers the stereotypes and stigmatisms already associated with people with disabilities.  In order to stop this trend, we need to empower these individuals and welcome them into our society. One example of that is providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.  This ties back to special education because as adults with severe disabilities get older, it is important to focus on shifting their education to independent living and employment.  In order for people with disabilities to be successful in society, we need to tailor their education to cover topics that will be useful for them in the real world.

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Argument Against Inclusion in the Classroom


Via Rebecca Hanley
Bianca Lea Iacono's insight:

Before reviewing the “Argument Against Inclusion in the Classroom” presentation, I was already forming my argument against the presentation in my head. After researching and hearing about inclusion, I thought it was a fantastic way to help kids with disabilities, assimilate into normal classrooms. However, after reading through the Prezi and considering the other opinion, I actually find myself agreeing with a lot of the points mentioned. Some of the concerns the presentation listed about inclusion are:

1.classrooms do not have the resources, training and support necessary to teach students with disabilities

2. The disabled children are not getting appropriate, specialized attention and care

3. General education student’s education is constantly disrupted

4. General education student’s get less attention

5. The range of student’s levels in classrooms makes it impossible for one teacher to adequately teach

6. Stress of the regular education teacher

7. Violent classroom environments

The presentation goes on to list more points and gives examples of how normal classrooms would run if inclusion were to be implemented. Although I think some of the points presented are valid, I also believe that they are being presented using the worst-case scenario. There are children with disabilities that don’t need constant attention, that don’t have violent outbursts and that can assimilate to normal classrooms. When I was in my junior year of high school, I took a cooking class as one of my electives and there were two special education children in my class. While Elyse needed a little more attention from an aid, Andrew was able to function as any normal child and participate in all activities and discussions. Although inclusion may not be the best solution for students with major disabilities, I believe it can be extremely beneficial for students that are able to handle being in a normal classroom. 

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Rebecca Hanley's curator insight, December 20, 2013 9:34 PM

 This Scoop.It post is a Prezi created by three special education teachers from the elementary, middle school, and high school level. First, the presentation trys to explain inclusion by defining vocabulary words such as mainstreaming, inclusion, and full inclusion. They then go on to opening state they do not agree with inclusion because they feel it is not fit for every student. To support their claim, they then go on to explain on the different types of support students with disabilities may need. They also use a number of case studies, an applied behavior analysis, and a video.

 

In my Introduction to Special Education class I was assigned to the against-inclusion side of a debate during a project.  Because of this I am very familiar with the components of this argument.  One aspect that I found very interesting in this Prezi was they both voiced the concerns for special education students and general education students.  For example, in terms of time, many argue children with disabilities in special education classrooms do not get the same one on one treatment (an argument touched on in this Prezi as well). But, this argument also highlights the disadvantages general education students face from inclusion.  For example, the presenters in this Prezi state, “Time is taken away from the regular education students, More time must be spent on the concepts when the class is ready to move on.” I found this component of their presentation strengthening their argument as they had more evidence how inclusion hinders the education process for all students. Not just student with disabilities. But, throughout the presentation there are question terms used such as “regular education students” which makes me question the legitimacy of this presentation. As an aspiring special educator, I would never refer to a student as a “regular education student” because it implies that students with disabilities are “irregular”, therefore further the stigma already associated with disabilities.  Therefore, I would refer to them as “general education students” or “students without disabilities”.

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Teacher Caught On Tape Bullying Special Needs Students In Ohio

There are good teachers out there that should spend more time marching against bad teachers instead of those that would like to rein in bad teachers. Is the ...
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While searching for videos about special education I came across one titled “Teacher Caught On Tape Bullying Special Needs Student,” I couldn’t believe it so I had to click on it to see if it was true... Special education teacher, Christie Wilt, and aid, Kelly Chaffins were caught on an audio recording bullying two special education students. Chaffins was caught on tape whispering to a student, “You’re not embarrassed we pay for your welfare? You should be. You should be embarrassed. I am just in awe. Makes you worthless. I am embarrassed for you.” When I listened to the recording, I cringed; I couldn’t believe a teacher’s aid could speak to anyone, not to mention a special needs student like that. How could a school hire someone so cruel and ill equipped to be a teacher? Chaffins continues to ask the student why she didn’t know the answer to a question, “How come you told me you didn’t know?” The student responded, “Because I didn’t know.” Chaffins says, “Are you kidding me? Are you that damn dumb? You are that dumb?” In addition to verbal abuse, both the Wilt and Chaffins made their students run on treadmills when they got answers wrong. “Don’t you want to do something about that belly?” Chaffins asks, “Yes” answers Cheyenne, “Well evidently you don’t because you don’t do anything at home. You sit at home and watch TV,” says Chaffin. After all of this was exposed and the school was well aware of what was going on in the classroom, they demanded the resignation of Chaffins but allowed Wilt to continue to teach. I was sick to my stomach while watching this video and couldn’t believe that a school could hire teachers like this. However, when I realized that they only fired Chaffins and not Wilt, I was appalled and furious that the school would let Wilt continue to teach after the way she treated her students. Schools need to be more careful and aware of what goes on in their own classrooms. 

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A Special Sparkle: Tips For New Special Education Teachers

A Special Sparkle: Tips For New Special Education Teachers | Special education | Scoop.it
Bianca Lea Iacono's insight:

A Special Sparkle is a collaborative special education blog made by teachers that gives tips for new special education teachers. This blog is full of helpful guidelines and also gives you a good insight into what special education teacher’s deal with in their daily teaching lives. One of the tips is to always come to class with a plan AND back up plan, “I can’t even count the number of times I had a plan for a day and within 5 minutes of school starting a kid had a meltdown that takes my whole plan and throws it out the window…” Another tip is to have a place for kids to calm down. Often times special education kids have big reactions to small problems; so when they are faced with something difficult and they get frustrated and have an outburst, its important to have a “calm corner.” This is a place where students can go to calm down while playing with a teddy bear or fidgeting with some kind of toy. Another helpful tip is to keep a strict routine. Special education students like to know what’s going on because they feel lost enough in the curriculum; they need to feel in control of something, which can be their routine. It’s helpful to keep a schedule posted so kids always know what is coming next. Last but not least, have a behavior management system and stick to it. The blogger encourages teachers to stick to what works best for them. “Don’t let them get away with things or say ‘next time…this will happen if you do that.’” Kids need to know when something is never okay. The blogger has a behavior chart and the students drop a level so they know they did something wrong. I think it is so imperative that teachers learn to accommodate all kids in their classrooms. I hope to work in a school that incorporates inclusion and I find these tips to be extremely helpful. These tips are also helpful in regular classrooms. Kids in regular elementary school classrooms also have outbursts and behavioral issues as well so this blog can really work for any kind of teacher! 

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Special ed teachers find Common Core a challenge - RiverdalePress.com

As Common Core shifts into high gear in public schools, the new curriculum poses unique challenges for teachers in District 75, which serves students with high-spectrum autism and other major …

Via Rebecca Hanley
Bianca Lea Iacono's insight:

“Special ed teachers find Common Core a challenge” is an article written by Shant Shahrigian exposing some teacher’s opinions on involving students with disabilities in common core. The new curriculum that goes along with common core poses many challenges for teachers who serve students with major disabilities. Teacher’s in District 75 said that, “common core interferes with their teaching methods and imposes improbably high expectations on their students.” However, education professionals share a different view; they believe that common core’s focus on subjects could benefit special education students that have difficulty carrying out tasks. The department of education is trying to close the achievement gap between special education students and students without disabilities. A teacher from district 75 revealed a statement that said, “it seems like an impossible task, its very unrealistic, the expectation for a special ed population. Its unfortunate that the students are at such a loss.” This teacher has to use a program called the Unique Learning System that includes special education lesson plans that are tied to rigorous new state standards. I don’t agree with common core in the first place. I have a lot of problems with the program and its expectations for kids without disabilities because I feel it sets standards that are way too high. If kids without disabilities are struggling with this program, how are kids in special education supposed to adjust to it? I believe teachers should have the freedom to teach their students at a reasonable pace without specific lesson plans that tell them exactly what to do. I especially think teachers who deal with children with disabilities should have the ability to go at a pace that caters to the students in their classrooms. I think that special education students will fall behind instead of closing the achievement gap. The department of education needs to come up with a different program that involves the same material but allows teachers to teach with freedom. 

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Rebecca Hanley's curator insight, December 20, 2013 9:21 PM

This article from The Riverdale Press explores the effect of the new Common Core Standards on special education.  Teachers in a district that only serves students with high-spectrum autism and other low-incident disabilities are finding it alarmingly difficult. Common Core Standards is also connected to “The Shared Path to Success”, a program that aims to close the achievement gap between special education students and general education students. One teacher explained that it is simply interfering with her method to teacher and is setting up unrealistic standards for her students. Other teachers went on to label the CCS “impractical” for students with autism. This teacher harped on the idea that these standards do not address the skills these specific students need to learn to function in the world. Another teacher said, “It doesn’t enhance his quality of life, it ignores his actual needs.” Before the CCS these teachers used to be able to use their own personal judgment for their students learning, whereas now they are bound to state mandated lessons.

 

While reading this article I immediately thought of the “Say Yes to Inclusion Campaign” because it ties into the point about teaching students functional skills they need to be members of society.  In the campaign, we see advocates pushing for students to have the access to education where they learn these skills. Here, we see it being taken away from these students and being replaced with a system they believe will bring them “up to speed”. What I find most interesting about this article is how the teachers do not have a say in what they think is realistic for their students.  Who do you think knows these students and their abilities better, the developers of CCS and state officials, or their own teachers? I find is bewildering to see these teachers have no say about realistic expectations or curriculums for these students.  After reading this article from the perspective of a special educator using CCS I am a little worried about entering the field and being able to make CCS successful in my classroom.  I am interested over the next few years to see where CCS have taken special education.